S. African Rabbi Blasts 'Don't Visit' Minister

Warren Goldstein Says Ebrahim Ebrahim 'Unfit' for Office

By JTA

Published August 17, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

South Africa’s chief rabbi has called on the country’s deputy minister of international relations to resign, saying he is unfit to hold public office.

Earlier this week, South African politician Ebrahim Ebrahim issued a statement saying that South Africans would be discouraged from visiting Israel unless they were involved in peace efforts.

In an open letter published Friday in Business Day and The Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Warren Goldstein wrote, “As a citizen and as a national religious leader of South Africa, I object to the way in which you are abusing your high office to promote your own personal agenda. You obviously have a ‘blind spot’ when it comes to Israel; you lose your sense of objectivity and rationality when dealing with the Jewish state.”

Goldstein named the recent development as “but one example of your irrational obsession with Israel to the detriment of the proper execution of your governmental duties. You have acted in breach of your government’s own foreign policy, in terms of which South Africa and Israel have full diplomatic relations.”

Comparing Ebrahim’s action to “apartheid-style control of information and censorship,” Goldstein suggested that the deputy minister is “afraid – and rightly so – that if people go to Israel and see the situation for themselves, their perspective will be completely different” and they “will see that there is no apartheid in Israel.”

He added, “Your actions to discourage South Africans from travelling to Israel are but one manifestation of your extremist views. In so doing you are jeopardizing South Africa’s international credibility and strategic interests.”

As examples of the deputy minister’s bias, the Jewish leader noted the politician’s failure to condemn human rights abuses in fellow-African countries such as Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.

He added, “You have been too hesitant and weak in condemning Syrian President Assad’s actions which have resulted in the deaths of more than 20,000 of his citizens and the displacement of nearly 150,000 refugees.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.